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Leila Abboud

Spotify's Shaven-Headed Savior

IPO success would offset power of Apple and Amazon.

Outside Sweden, Daniel Ek isn't a household name. That will probably change this year when the 33-year-old seeks to turn Spotify, the music streaming business he founded a decade ago in Stockholm, into a publicly traded company that could be worth $8 billion.

The success of the initial public offering will hinge on whether investors believe Ek can turn rapid revenue growth into sustainable profit at some point in the not-so-distant future. The soft-spoken, shaven-headed Swede must overcome concerns that Spotify is a mere distribution channel, beholden to the big three music labels whose pricey licensing fees are a serious constraint.